God’s Way Wins

Proverbs 19-21

Proverbs 21 30 NIV sgl

I encourage you to read these chapters focusing again on what stands out to you.  Depending on where you are at in life right now, different words of wisdom might stick.  Here are some that stuck out to me:

19:11 – A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

I’m someone who tends to hold grudges.  Especially if I wasn’t asked for forgiveness.  When someone asks, I am usually willing to offer it, but the thing is, people don’t always ask.  And sometimes I perceived I was wronged when the other person doesn’t see it that way.  This proverb reminds me that it is better to forgive and move past an offense than to let it sit and weigh me down.

19:20 Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.

Accepting correction isn’t easy.  I tend to bristle at it (especially when I know it is something I did wrong, or need to change).  It puts my defenses up, and I imagine many others feel the same.  But when we accept proper discipline, we come out better.  We learn and grow, and don’t continue to make the same mistakes.  It is an important part of life to heed Godly advice and discipline, even when we don’t like it.

21:30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.

This one is an encouraging one to end today’s thoughts.  Sometimes it can feel like in this world, evil is winning.  That people have made their plans, and they are succeeding despite it being contrary to God’s ways.  So here is your reminder: they won’t win out in the end.  Nothing can succeed if it is against the LORD.  We might feel weighed down and defeated when we see evil prevail, but we know how it ends.  We know who wins.  And it isn’t evil.

I’m writing this while life is weird.  We are stuck at home, not going to church (I don’t think I have ever not been to church on Easter Sunday), many people not going to jobs, not having dinner with families, not enjoying a dinner out.  But we can have peace when we remember that no matter what is happening now, God has a plan, it will come to be, and we can look forward to eternal life.

~Stephanie Fletcher

 

Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+19-21&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Proverbs 22-24 as we continue seeking and growing in God’s way during our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

The Best Construction Project

1 Corinthians 3

1 Corinthians 3 19 a

For the Corinthians and Greek culture in general, wisdom and knowledge were extremely important.  This is why Paul spends 1 Corinthians 1 emphasizing that it is through faith in Christ that we are saved, not through the wisdom they have worked towards their whole lives.  Then in 1 Corinthians 2 Paul says that wisdom is important for the Christian, but it is Godly wisdom that is very different from what they have learned, and it cannot be taught, but is given by the holy spirit.  Now in chapter 3 Paul is clearing up any last confusion in case they were not understanding up until now. He very clearly says that they need this Godly wisdom, but do not have it at all. They have been seeking an elevated status in their congregation because of their high learning and deep understandings.  Paul wants to set the record straight, living a Christian life is not about sitting in your plush study and writing treatises and books and musings, and becoming revered for your knowledge. It is about getting your hands dirty. He likens the Christians to farmers and builders who have work to do, and he is a worker right there with them.  This would have been a very shocking thing to the aristocratically minded members of the Corinthian Church who would have read this.

 

So let me be as clear as Paul was.  If you decide to follow Jesus and serve him, then you will be a servant.  Your life will not be a vacation, but a construction project. It will take work, but in the end you will hopefully do something valuable with your life and “the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.  If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.” 1 Corinthians 3:13-14.  That reward is everlasting life in God’s kingdom, and is worth so much more than a high position in society, or being revered for your earthly wisdom.

 

Your fellow servant

Chris Mattison

Which Wisdom is Not Truly Wise

1 Corinthians 2

1 Corinthians 2 14.png

Hey guys, it’s Chris again and today we are looking at 1 Corinthians 2.

 

After deemphasizing the role of wisdom in salvation in the first chapter of first Corinthians Paul clarifies in 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 that having wisdom is very important for Christians.  This wisdom is not gained through learning at schools, as was common in their culture, but was given and revealed through the holy spirit, and was completely different from the conventional wisdom of the day.  It was important to make this distinction between Godly wisdom and the conventional wisdom of the day, because many of the believers that had been taught courses in philosophy and rhetoric of the day were holding onto those old ways of thinking, which was causing the issues that Paul was writing about in this letter.  This is an important reminder that we need to completely die to ourselves when we accept Christ into our lives. We need to leave behind our old sins as well as our old ways of thinking about the world. Worldly wisdom is incompatible with Godly wisdom, and if we hold onto it then we will be divided and confused, and it will pull us away from God.

 

Peace in Christ,

Chris Mattison

What can wisdom do for you? – Prov. 2

Proverbs 2-6

Good Morning Everyone!

Today, we will again be delving into wisdom and what Proverbs has to say about it. Today’s reading comes from Proverbs 2.

The biggest point I hope you take away from this chapter is what wisdom can do for you. Yesterday we learned about where wisdom comes from, and why it is beneficial.Today we will see more about how important wisdom is in our Christian lives.

Wisdom is not something gained without work on our part. Proverbs 2:2-5 “turning your ear to wisdom and applying to your heart to understanding- indeed if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD.” We have to choose to listen to God’s word, and we have to choose to listen to the knowledge our parents pass to us. We need to apply our hearts, in order to reap the rewards that wisdom can provide to us.

Now, what happens once we have asked for wisdom, and we have listened to God’s word, gained knowledge and respected our parent’s teachings? Further in Proverbs 2, the word tells us. Verses 7-11 (paraphrased, and I encourage to read the full verses in your bible.) He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield….. he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones…. Then you will understand what is right and just… for wisdom will enter your heart and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you and understanding will guard you.

Wisdom and knowledge are given to us in order to protect us, guard us, give us success and to keep us on a path of righteousness. Having wisdom will help us to walk in the good ways and keep to the paths of the righteous.

The last few verses talk about upright and blameless being able to live in the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from the land.

The way to gain wisdom is to yearn for it and ask for it. Respect your parents, and understand the fear of the LORD. Be aware, and apply your heart to understanding. Once you have been given an understanding and wisdom, and you have accepted it, you will have discernment which will help you to stay on the paths of righteousness, and it will protect you, and guard you.

Thank you for reading today, and hopefully, you will check back in tomorrow. Have a great day and God Bless

~Jana Swanson

 

The Path

Psalms 35-37: The Path of Wisdom leads to faithfulness.

path

Through this week’s reading, we’ve seen how God is our creator, provider, and refuge. We’ve seen how through Jesus’ death on the cross, we’ve received a beautiful inheritance in pleasant boundary lines, and how we can come to know God better through our communication with Him, in our prayers and praises. These truths point us to the great love that God has for us, love which David wrote about in some of my favorite verses in the Bible:

“LORD, Your faithful love reaches to heaven, Your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, Your judgments like the deepest sea. LORD, You preserve man and beast. God, Your faithful love is so valuable that people take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They are filled from the abundance of Your house; You let them drink from Your refreshing stream, for with You is life’s fountain. In Your light we will see light.” – Ps. 36:5-10

These verses sum up all the topics we’ve dwelled on over the last few days and show the true character of our God. In Psalm 36, David talks about the way that God shows love to the faithful. But, what does it mean to be faithful?

The whole Bible is written to answer this question, and it is a question we spend our whole lives trying to discern and live out. Psalm 37 answers this question in part by showing us what is means to be wise. In this psalm, David shows the dichotomy, the difference between, the evildoer and the wise man, and that difference is how the person lives out the law of God. This psalm is like a mini-sermon, in which David tells the listener not to follow or be annoyed with evildoers, but instead to trust in God, take delight in him, commit your way to him, and wait expectantly for him. David, the Psalmist shows us how to live the faithful life.

When my nieces were learning how to walk, I remember the way their steps were so hesitant, preferring to either be on their knees crawling or sitting. But, when I would take their tiny hands in mine to help them, their steps would become faster and more deliberant. When we live outside of God’s helping hand, we are forever like my nieces who waddle and fall as they attempt to walk by themselves. But, through the wisdom and instruction of God, he can lead us down a good path, and when we fall, God will hold us up. (Ps. 37:23-24)

When we live inside of God’s wisdom, we can pursue the good path, for the path of the faithful is full of light. David says it best when he says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.” – Psalm 37:5-6

-Cayce Ballard

Anointing (I Samuel 16-17)

Thursday, October 13th

1-sam-16-7-pic

By Terrence Raper

Saul has some good moments, but eventually fails to follow God. Samuel is tasked with secretly anointing a new king behind Saul’s back. This process for choosing the next king laid out in this chapter has always been interesting to me. God tells Samuel it’s going to be one of Jesse’s sons, and God speaks to Samuel as each one passes by. I can remember God talking to people in the Bible, and I can remember examples of people casting lots. In Chapter 16 it seems like Samuel is doing both in real time. That just stuck out to me.

Samuel’s connection to God in this moment of choosing the next king, reminds me a lot of Paul’s final instructions in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Paul tells them to “pray continually”- Which was “pray without ceasing” in the King James, the original way I heard the scripture. I have always thought of Paul’s instruction in terms of literal and nonliteral. I believe Paul was asking the Thessalonians to be faithful, and prayerful: reminding them it is important to submit to God in all things.I also think Paul was talking about a mindfulness. I don’t mean mindfulness in a new age kind of way. I think Paul was asking them to think of everything in terms of Godly wisdom. I believe this to be a step in the process of obedience to God between belief and actions.
So Saul heard the voice of God in real time. This is not impossible, but it hasn’t been a part of my experience of God. I have had to begrudgingly ask myself what truths do I know about God, and in turn how would God like me to act, react, respond in this scenario. What does Godly wisdom tell me about this scenario?